Aug. 7, 2014
By CHRISTIAN HOPPENS
OhioBobcats.com - Staff Writer
When redshirt senior wide receiver Chase Cochran came to his first fall camp in 2010, he weighed "170 pounds soaking wet" and was full of nerves.
While he may have been "the guy" at Lebanon High School, every player he was lining up against was "the guy" at their respective high schools. Once camp started, every player had to prove themselves.
"You come here, you're at the bottom of the totem pole," Cochran said. "You have to earn your teammate's respect, your coaches' respect and coach Solich's respect. Proving that you can make the plays they ask you to make, that you deserve to be out on the field."
The same adjustment process is beginning once again for a new group of freshmen that are eager to prove that they belong on the field and can make plays.
But that doesn't mean that there wouldn't be a bit of shock and awe after the first couple days of practice.
"It was kind of overwhelming the first day how fast it was," freshman cornerback Curtis Brunson said. "And the difference from high school to college--it felt like we were out here for six hours, but we were only out here for an hour and 45 minutes."
And freshman on the offensive side of the ball agreed, as freshman wide receiver Robbie Walker said that there was a stark contrast in regards to talent on the field than what he's used to.
"Guys are bigger, faster, stronger, so it's like night and day from high school," the Reston, Va. native said. "If you work hard, it's going to get easier. But for the most part, playing for Ohio football is completely different from playing private school football in Washington D.C."
During his first day of fall camp in 2011, redshirt junior offensive tackle Mike McQueen remembers that the biggest shock wasn't necessarily the speed or athleticism of the collegiate players, but the amount of players who combined physicality and strength.
"Every part of football, no matter where you are, is going to be physical," McQueen said. "But being physical with leverage and being physical with strength. One guy I played against on the entire defense in high school might be physical, but this time, I've got 11 D-I players that are all physical from Penn State."
The more experienced players understand that getting used to that is going to be a difficult hurdle for the freshman, so they do what they can to help along the process.
Cochran remembers how Donte Foster, Riley Dunlop and Steven Goulet helped him out during his freshman year. He also remembers how they not only helped him with football, but were friends to him at a new stage in his life.
As a senior, Cochran is now trying to impart the lessons his elders taught him.
"They helped me to get where I'm at, so I kind of owe them everything," Cochran said. "They gave it to me, so now I'm finally getting the chance to pay it back."
Also aiding in the early days of fall camp is the bond between each of the members in the freshman class.
The players were in contact before arriving in Athens and now that they're here, they eat together, play video games together and have even put together their own secret handshake.
"We're real tight," wide receiver Herman Brunis said. "I love those guys. We've just built this bond. We go together anywhere."